Do I have to install the ignition interlock device on my car if I’m convicted of a DUI in Wisconsin?

Michael C. Witt - Criminal Defense - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Michael C. Witt

Criminal Defense & Civil Litigation LLC
Jefferson, WI
Phone: 920-674-7824
Fax: 920-674-7829

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An ignition interlock is required in Wisconsin for first offense convictions with an alcohol concentration greater than or equal to .15, all implied consent refusal convictions, and all second or subsequent offense convictions.  Once such an order has been entered against you, it requires the installation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that have your name associated with the registration or title.  This applies whether or not the vehicle is being driven, or is in running condition.  Even previously junked vehicles that have not been reported to the DOT as junked are still subject to this requirement. 

Absent a court-ordered exemption specifically identifying exempt vehicles, failure to provide proof of installation on all vehicles that DOT records show as registered or titled to you will preclude you from obtaining an occupational license, or reinstating your regular privileges when you become otherwise eligible to do so.  Failure to install the device as ordered, or tampering with a device once installed can result in the issuance of new criminal charges.

Failure to provide proof of installation to the jail within two weeks of a conviction resulting in an ignition interlock order will also result in the loss of Huber work release privileges, unless you have been specifically exempted from this requirement by written order of the court, or notation on your judgment of conviction.

An ignition interlock order cannot simply be waited out, as the time period on the order does not begin to run until you obtain a license subject to that restriction from the DOT. Failure to comply will leave the order hanging over your head indefinitely, subject to criminal prosecution for failure to install, and preventing you from obtaining an occupational or reinstating your driver’s license.

Even if you do not own a motor vehicle, you will need to obtain an occupational license or reinstate your regular privileges subject to an ignition interlock restriction.  The resulting license will not allow you to drive, as absent a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed, it is not valid, but it will at least trigger the running of the time period, and ultimately allow you to obtain a license not subject to the restriction.  Installing an ignition interlock without obtaining a license subject to the restriction does not trigger the time period, and will not count.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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